Campaigns: Donor Data Matters

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Amassing the financial resources you need to run for office
can be difficult. You need to hit your list, get that money, flip that money
into advertisements, paychecks, and all the other things that make a campaign
tick. The time window for all of that is extremely short. At the same time,
national and state campaign finance laws also require that you capture a
tremendous amount of information about your donors.

You’d think the breakneck pace of campaign season and data
analysis would be in opposition, but they’re not. In fact, knowing your list is
key to producing the financial returns you’ll need to run a successful
campaign. If you don’t take the time to find out who is supporting you, you’ll
end up leaving a lot of money on the table come Election Day.

Donors are investing in your campaign, and doing your due diligence is a great way to signal that you don’t see them as an
undifferentiated mass of walking wallets. Jesse Greenberg, a Chicago-area political consultant, summed it up well in a post on social media in politics:

Earlier this summer, I attended a campaign
event for Debbie Halvorsen, a congressional candidate in Illinois’ 11th
district. I registered and paid my contribution through ActBlue. This
online transaction called for my email. It surprises me
that today I received, not one, but two letters from the Halvorson campaign
soliciting me for funds. As a “supporter” I’d like to be listened to and
clearly their direct mail piece doesn’t indicate they are listening.  If I
used ActBlue to register for an event and make a donation, doesn’t that mean
I’m more likely to respond to online communications rather than direct
mail?

I’d like to amplify that a bit. I’m a 20-something who works
in Democratic politics. It’s what I do every day. But if you, theoretical
Democratic candidate, USPS me an envelope asking me to send you a check, I
won’t even know what to do with it. I pay my bills, my rent, and just about everything
else online. Established media empires are crumbling because folks my age don’t
buy newspapers anymore. Asking me to write you a check and take it
to the post office is very, very unlikely to produce a response. Even if I do
mail you a check, the costs you incur for direct mail solicitations—staff time,
printing, postage and processing—are astronomically high compared to sending me
an email.

ActBlue allows you to sidestep those costs and makes it easy for you to see who your donors are. When donors sign up for a free ActBlue Express account, they have the option to click a box that appends “donor prefers email” to their contributions. As a candidate, all you have to do is look for that little tell in your contribution reports and make sure you communicate with them via email.

Encouraging your donors to sign up for free ActBlue Express
accounts
also provides a number of other advantages to your campaign. While
donating through ActBlue is always faster than writing and mailing a check,
ActBlue Express stores all their donor information. That means that when they
get your email, all they have to do is enter their password and their donation
is on its way to you at digital speed. That means more conversions per email,
and more money in your war chest.

Making use of the tools at your disposal isn’t about being hip, or new media savvy. It’s about winning. As Obama for America demonstrated, the payoffs for campaigns that are ahead of the curve in this area are
enormous.

7 comments
  1. Thanks for linking to my post. I’m still getting USPS solicitations from the campaign over a year later. I think this serves as a good lesson to keep communicating with people in the medium that they’re most comfortable with. If I contributed via ActBlue, then it stands to reason that I prefer my communications electronically.

  2. This is great info.
    Now here’s even better news…
    William “Bill” Fleming will be running for the SPECIAL ELECTION in Virginia’s Eighth Senate District.
    He will have an ACT BLUE account in the next few days, so be sure to pitch-in if you can.
    The Eighth District is one of those supposedly reliable Republican districts, but with the SPECIAL ELECTION to be held just after Christmas (January 12, 2010) this seat is really in play. This is especially true with an Army Veteran and Tech business owner, like Bill Fleming carrying the banner forward for the Democrats.
    Virginia Beach is going to LOVE Bill Fleming!

  3. john smith said:

    Stop crying Grayson. Act like a man instead of a “fag.” If you can’t stand the heat get out of the race. You are a disgrace to this country.

  4. Steve said:

    ya know i voted for Obama. cheered when he got elected. rooted for Pelosi. smiled while Reid did his thing but tell me this? where is the change?
    they took care of wall street but i need a job and now you’re sending out campaign stuff for me to send money? get real. ya spent a whole year working on health care. that’s fine. but where are the jobs.
    we’re hurting out here and all they’re worried about is doing something that 7 presidents have failed at? i could care less! where are the jobs!
    WHERE ARE THE JOBS!

  5. Paul Winger said:

    I cannot afford a single contribution, I wish I could. Pres. Obama did campaign and promise the Public Option. He is not reneging on his promise. Pres. Obama is loosing support of his base, like me, more and more each day. I have attempted to get information to him that he could turn the tide on all his issues in a single speech; as if he had 200 million votes in his pocket as proxies. I have not only been dismissed but my phone number has been blocked from the West Wing. My letters go unanswered. I was once a person who use to receive calls often to come to the West Wing for discussions on topics. My friends still in D.C. confirm an Administration that is demanding distance from the American public. Their attitudes of representing people changed to controlling people is becoming more obvious. Pres. Obama now saying he never promised the Public Option when he actually did proves my point.
    We have to get to this man and remind him who is in charge, the American people. What has been happening makes the democratic party look like the republicans are in-charge.
    We have to get to Obama. The time is almost too late to the point he will not recover.

  6. Dean said:

    These are the words I assosiate with Bush, (Out of control spending),(Record debts),(Golf),(Wall street bail outs), (alienate the world) and (Surge)!
    Where is the change?
    Oh ya!
    (Alienate the American people!)

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